Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg University presents its first exhibit at the Springfield Center for the Arts at Wittenberg University from Saturday, Sept. 18, through Saturday, Oct. 30, in the re-named Wittenberg-Halley Gallery, 107 Cliff Park Road. A preview of the exhibit took place on Sept. 18 as part of the Springfield Museum of Art (SMOA) Member Preview Reception for the museum’s “Fragile Nature: Photographs of Joel Sartorel” exhibit.
Titled “Divine Nature: Butterfly Art and Publications of the Nineteenth Century,” the Wittenberg exhibit was made possible by sponsors Delta Selsor Trust and the Turner Foundation. Developed by Kara Blakley, class of 2010 from Dayton, Ohio, with support from Kirsten Bildsten, class of 2012 from Westerville, Ohio, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Art Alejandra Gimenez-Berger, the exhibit was designed to complement the museum’s Fragile Nature exhibit.
The nearly 1,000 books in the collection were donated to Wittenberg by Cyril Franklin dos Passos (1887-1986), a lawyer who explored his interest in lepidopterology (the study of moths and butterflies) upon his retirement. As an amateur scientist and collector, Dos Passos received help from Frank E. Watson, Department of Entomology of the American Museum of Natural History, and was appointed research associate in the Department of Entomology at the museum. He became an Honorary Life Member of the Lepidopterists’ Society. Dos Passos received an honorary doctorate from Wittenberg in 1965.
The oldest book in the exhibit, Ulisse Aldrovandi’s De Animalibus Insectis, was printed in 1638. The collection includes one book from the 17th century, four from the 18th, 13 from the 19th and one from the 20th century. Some of the books include illustrations – engravings and hand-colored.
Wittenberg student docents will provide tours of the butterfly book exhibit for the Springfield City Schools during the next two weeks as part of the SMOA’s educational programming in conjunction with the Fragile Nature exhibit.
Tours and educational activities for families will also be available Saturday, Oct. 9, during Wittenberg’s Homecoming Weekend and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, as part of Family Day activities at the center. Teachers’ and family guides along with educational activities for children were developed by Wittenberg students in art education classes conducted by Susan Broidy and Associate Professor of Education Lora Lawson.
Wittenberg has established two museum associate internship positions at the center. These associates are Bildsten and Chelsea Graham, class of 2011 from Galion, Ohio. They will lead gallery tours and recruit, coordinate and train student volunteers to serve at the new center.
Written By: Phyllis Eberts